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Old December 3rd, 2003, 11:36 AM   #1
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Hear of any Windows Media Center conflicts?

Hi all,
Am considering whether or not I should keep or return a nifty little Sony Vaio setup I bought at Costco. The monitor is amazing, the Pent.4, 3 GHz chip screams, it comes with a 128 Nvidia graphics card (VGA, TV, and DVi out) but here's the thing... Sony claims that the "Windows Media Center" edition of XP has the min. configuration of XP pro, but it comes with "extras" that you can use, or not. And more to the point, that it shouldn't cause any conflicts with professional editing software, as you just don't run those things at the same time. (Duh.) Basically my thinking was, cool, they've ripped off iMovie, iDVD, etc. and streamlined the whole thing so I can whack together a Christmas/kids video (whatever) when I feel like it, then edit on Avid Express Pro when I'm "working." BUT... Avid says they've never tested it, so they can't say whether or not there would be any conflicts. And the forum boards at Avid were no help. Plus, the tech desk won't talk to me until I buy the product. (sigh)

Any thoughts about whether or not I'm just asking for trouble? It really is a sweat little system... I'd hate to take it back and pay more for something else I like less.

Marcia
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 04:37 PM   #2
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If I remember correctly there is a free Avid version available and
perhaps even a demo from their site. See if that runs. I guess
in theory it would run, BUT, Avid is a higher end product that
had quirks in the past. So I would not bet my money on it
before seeing it work at least with the free version or a demo.

If you really want Avid you can buy it and then test it. If it doesn't
work just return the Vaio and get something else?
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 08:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Rob! Great idea. Will do that and post what I find out in case anyone else is tempted by these models. Both HP and Dell I noticed are pushing the Windows "Media Version" of XP Professional so stuff is bound to surface about it sooner or later. OTOH I may be one of the few around here crazy enough to like having a system that I can use for goofy things, and still run professional software to edit my doc. Though Apple has pitched to that market for years. Maybe Microsoft actually did something right when they ripped of Mac stuff this time. Given that what I got at Costco was less than half what a Mac tricked out the same would put me back, I can hope.
Marcia

P.S. You wouldn't happen to know what "dual bus" means? Avid said I needed that if I wanted to use their Mojo, and to ask Sony. The Sony tech didn't didn't know when I called and gave up.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 09:39 AM   #4
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Never heard of dual bus before. I can imagine it would have
something to do with having enought bandwidth to push the
video through your system. If you can find this on any of the
Avid pages then please post the link so I can take a look in
what context it is being used.

Good luck with your test!
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Old December 10th, 2003, 11:26 AM   #5
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Marcia, query back to Avid and ask if they meant "Dual Channel RAM" or "Dual Channel DDR RAM". This is the most likely case of dual busses that I can think of that Avid might need for rendering. Once you confirm that you can go back to Sony and see if that particular Vaio has it. Most likely it does though, putting a single channel system with a 3GHz P4 is just mean (and cheap).
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Old December 10th, 2003, 05:36 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses, guys.

Rob, the link is at: http://www.avid.com/products/dna/PCIBusSegReq.shtml

On my second call to Avid they sent me to that page.

Just got back from DV Expo at the LA Convention Cntr (not much there) and the Avid rep I talked to said I did indeed need a more powerful system to run the Mojo. (Like a G5 or a PC server.) I can use DV Express Pro with my little Costco Vaio, but despite being a 3 GHz Pentium 4, with 1 1/2 gig RAM, a 128 video card, etc. I won't get true "real time rendering" without being able to use the Mojo (you do get funky preview functions like with Final Cut Pro's lame preview function). And I'll still have to digitize. Having started out as an assistant editor, the thought of not digitizing anymore was very appealing, but given the cost of a system that would be more than double what I spent, plus the Mojo for another $1600, plus the software itself... I'll be digitizing my own stuff for some time to come it appears. C'est la vie. Am still grateful to get away from FCP and back to an Avid platform. Like coming home.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 05:42 PM   #7
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I was wondering why you were so keen on getting Avid. I guess
the "coming home" part explains that.

The bus thing is really techincal and it basically tells you that
the system you are using should use some quality components
so that it won't run into bandwidth problems (as I guessed
earlier on). But it seems to be mostly with SCSI and fibre-
channel adapters which you will probably not be using anyway.

I doubt you will have a problem with that. I just would like to
say that on a 3 GHz P4 with 1.5 gb of RAM Vegas would really
rock your world and be very very fast.

I just can't understand why even Avid Express or any other
version of Avid would not scream on such hardware. Sounds
a bit redicilous, even if it is a professional application.

Just my "thoughts" on the matter.
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Old December 10th, 2003, 06:25 PM   #8
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Oh, the "coming home" is not that big a deal really. It would be nice, and it would certainly reduce the learning curve for me, being an Avid product. But I think in part, the idea of going Avid again gives me a certain sense of security in that, if I get swamped, I can easily find people I know to hire to take over for me, or do the final edit outright. I'll be wearing so many hats on this thing next summer that I'm a little hesitant of cutting myself off from the option of using a professional bay to drop my drives off at around here and letting them have a go. Course that depends entirely on whether or not full funding comes through, which would allow me that luxury if I'm desperate.

You've gotten my interest re your comments about Vegas, Rob. Tell me more. Can it handle footage from the DVX100/24p? The Adobe rep at DV Expo (LA) today said they're coming out with a DVX100/24p capable version of Premier soon (wouldn't say when), so I guess more and more are going that way. How is the color correction in Vegas? The capability in Avid Express Pro is built on what they developed for their high end Symphony system (for online suits), which I've cut on before (though it's been several years now). Now that was impressive, even then.
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Old December 11th, 2003, 03:27 AM   #9
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Yes, Vegas can handle the DVX100/24p already from a couple of
updates ago. I think the color correction tools are quite good
(although Avid's are probably a bit better here). But I suggest
you download their demo and try it out on that machine of yours
and with the DVX100 to make sure.

Download the demo here. They even have a 24p White Paper
which you can download here
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Old December 11th, 2003, 12:40 PM   #10
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Interesting stuff, Rob. Thanks. Vegas is tempting me I must admit, in part because with all the potential hardware/software conflicts for any given set-up, having a Sony system running Sony software seems like it may reduce some of those frustrations down the line (in theory anyway). I'm still a bit nervous about the color correction features of Vegas (PC Magazine was not impressed, and overall gave Vegas pretty low scores except for its audio) and the ability to hand the project off to another edit bay/editor. FCP and Avid editors/bays are a dime a dozen around LA, so finding someone would be easy. Decisions, decisions. Off to try out the demo...
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Old December 12th, 2003, 04:39 AM   #11
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If you want compatability with other systems and people who
can work them, then yes, Avid or FCP would probably be a better
choice indeed. Did you try out the Free Avid version on that
machine? Can't imagine Avid would not run smooth on it. If it
doesn't then that's a real shame.
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Old December 12th, 2003, 02:01 PM   #12
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PC Magazine is a bit messed up. (Sometimes) their reviews miss the important points entirely.

Vegas's color correction tools are pretty decent. I haven't used them extensively but they seem more powerful than Final Cut Pro's since it has vectorscopes, 3-way color correction, and color curves (which FCP does not come with, although there are plug-ins).

Vegas comes with nearly all the tools you need to finish your project. If you super fancy titles then you can use your favorite titling app (3d programs, after effects, etc.) to generate them and import them into Vegas. Vegas's audio editing capabilities blows everything else out of the water.

As far as I know you can't export projects well into other NLEs. Also the interface is very different than Avid/Premiere/FCP so Vegas needs its own skill set.

Vegas was made by Sonic Foundry and then it was bought out by Sony who just slapped their name on it. Sony didn't do any programming for it except for the latest patch, which slaps their name all over Vegas. It's a pretty stable NLE though and doesn't seem to have the same number of issues as Avid/FCP/Premiere.
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